March 14, 2010

I want to start a (progressive) party

By admin

I had these thoughts in draft for some time and then I read “The Progressive Left Needs a Manning Centre Equivalent” by Scott Tribe.  He managed to stir quite a debate and discussion with this and has actually attracted some really cool ideas as well.

At extreme risk of looking like I”m jumping on the band wagon and with even bigger risk of pissing off anyone who even remotely ‘aligns’ themselves with a specific party, I want to say this:


As the Canadian Parliament FINALLY returns to work after the ‘recalibration’ of the Harper Conservatives (like they all got a little dizzy on a teacup circus ride and needed a chance to stop before they all puked in their $400 shoes), I watched, ever hopeful that someone with enough fortitude would make a stand against Stephen Harper and his ongoing charade as an elected leader of this country.

The Liberals caved quicker than a sand castle facing a tsunami.  In fact, when you look at the voting numbers in the House, the Liberals are as blue as the Cons.  The Cons have belly-ached about the possibility of a coalition for the last 2 years, and yet they’ve received support from the Liberals with nearly all of their bills … when they’re actually able to work in the House of Commons.

The NDP did no better.  While I don’t want to suggest that Jack is Stephen Harper’s ‘Left-Hand Man’, I’m regularly forced to acknowledge that when he cuts what look like good deals in the short-run, I can’t help but feel that he’s selling Canada out in the long-run by helping Slippery Steve stay in power.  The NDP, lead by Jack Layton, have helped keep the Conservatives in power for nearly 1,500 days, following their initial great amalgamation that occurred back in 2006 when they acted together to bring down the Liberals.

The Bloc, busy sucking the life out of Canada, did nothing as well.

The Greens weren’t there but I think I heard Elizabeth May doing a book review on the CBC.  And let’s look at the cold reality with the Greens:  they’re a single-issue distraction, offering nothing more than a SIGG water bottle elitist kind of feeling when it comes to political disobedience.  When you scratch the surface, they’re Cons, hiding their market ideologies behind an environmental flag, fracturing votes across the country for all parties.  They are nothing like their European counterparts.  In time, the Canadian population will realize that voting for the Greens is like kicking democracy in the junk.

When ‘Steve’s Big Break’ came and went, no one in the ‘opposition’ took the opportunity or time to recalibrate their own lousy platforms and they all now continue to play the same cat and mouse bullshit that we had before the extended holiday.


Maybe all we need to do is reawaken the Rhinoceros Party just to keep the other parties on their toes.

Maybe all we need is an advocacy group (or many) that will bury the Canadian public with opinions and ideas about decent things to do with our future instead of crying about how we don’t have enough guns to shoot people with or how our prisons will need to be run out of basements like crappy day-care centres because our public institutions are packed with first-time offenders.

However, I’ve hit a peak in frustration and none of the parties represent me or my ideas in the House of Commons.

So, I officially propose that we start a new party that is committed to progressive ideals for this country.

Canadians need a party that act in the best interest of Canada, and not just for themselves.

I’ve held off on this as long as I could, but I believe it’s time we started a new party.

Here are some things I’d want to see from this party:

  • A true commitment to democracy.  Voting lead by constituents and not by coercion of the party leaders.
  • A declaration that the first act introduced would be one to institutionalize proportional representation in this country.
  • A commitment to powerful, progressive income and consumption taxes that will help all levels of government balance their books.
  • A commitment to true-cost pricing, effectively ending the carbon monopoly that exists in this country.
  • A party that doesn’t cave at every turn to calls from the labour movement and that doesn’t have to flinch if it says that not every strike is OK.
  • The elimination of the office of the Governor General.
  • A republic?  Why not?  Why should an unelected official decide the fate of Canada when strong-armed by Steve and the Harpoons?  We need a real discussion about why we’re still effectively ruled by a monarch from England.
  • A REAL plan to wean Canada off carbon energy and to invest in all forms of renewables.  The starting points of this plan might include ideas like never spending money on roads again; only putting money into public transit; divesting ourselves of GM and Chrysler because they are an abhorrent conflict of interest; and creating a transition plan for the Tar Sands of Alberta so that we can attend international events without feeling the shame of creating one of the world’s largest environmental nightmares.
  • Support for a broad-based open-access philosophy for all public institutions.  If I want information, I can get it.  In text format, and not PDF.  Further, all government institutions would have to make a commitment to using open-source technology and platforms so that we can stop dumping billions per year into the pockets of the likes of Microsoft.
  • A plan to incubate and protect (yes, protect) Canadian businesses that focus on local, organic, natural or fair-trade.
  • A plan to incubate and support new technologies and online platforms for all Canadians.
  • A requirement that ALL houses built in this country starting on (pick a date) be net producers of energy.  There’s no reason why we should have new developments that are net consumers of energy.  We have the technology to do it.  We lack the will to make it happen.
  • A severe crackdown on monopolies in this country, starting with our communications companies.
  • Recognition that the corporation is not the only business model in Canada.  Support for non-profits, co-ops, partnerships and other formats, particularly those that favour small businesses, would be part of the party platform.
  • A requirement that the CPP divest itself of all shareholdings related to companies that manufacture weapons.
  • Complete and absolute withdrawal from Afghanistan.  Immediately.
  • A FULL inquiry into the Afghanistan detainee torture issue, including imprisonment of any officials associated with War Crimes.
  • Funding and moral support for the UN, particularly its peace keeping bodies.
  • Borrowing from our one true Bank (the Bank of Canada) instead of commercial lenders.

These are just top-level ideas about ways we can differentiate ourselves from the rest of the pack.

And don’t tell me that a new party would just dilute the left or progressive mind-set of this country.  In Alberta, the Wild Rose Party sprung up to capture the level of resentment and we can do it for the whole country.  The Bloc did the exact same thing in the 1980s and nearly destroyed this country.

We can do the same.

We owe it to future generations of Canadians to take action today.